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CEOs reframe and refresh their outlook

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Our CEO Confidence Index September Quarter 2021 reveals that CEOs are looking ahead with tempered expectations and quiet optimism. Whether working from home during times of disruption, or conducting business as usual, leaders are reflecting on the here and now without chasing the horizon too far in advances.

Responses were gathered from 101 of our SME CEOs from a diverse range of industries about their current levels of confidence in the economy.

CEOs are driving forward with a reframed attitude on the economy. Whether they’ve been impacted by disruption or not, savvy business leaders are rethinking and refreshing their strategies to ensure they can adapt and remain on course, despite a lack of control over external factors

  • 46% of CEOs feel overall economic conditions have improved in the last 12 months
  • 38% of CEOs expect overall economic conditions to be better or remain the same in the next 12 months

CEOs and business leaders are continuing to adapt to ‘meet the moment’ and moving ahead with pragmatic expectations for growth in people and profitability.

  • 60% expect their number of employees to increase over the next 12 months, which has pulled back by 7% since March 2021
  • 60% predict that profitability will increase in the next 12 months, sliding 7% since March 2021

The results are summarised in the infographic below (download PDF).

CEO Confidence Index Sept 2021
CEO Confidence Index Sept 2021

About the CEO Confidence Index

The Executive Connection CEO Confidence Index is a survey measuring the economic outlook and sentiment of Australian and New Zealand business leaders of Mid-market organisations. The survey measures the following indexes:

  • Views about economic conditions compared to a year ago
  • Expectations for economic conditions in the year ahead
  • Business expectations for the next 12 months on:
    • Fixed capital expenditure
    • Sales revenues
    • Profitability
    • Prices for their products and services
    • Total headcount

The survey also identifies the challenges and opportunities faced by leaders including business operations, leadership, talent and technology.  Members are CEOs and business leaders of businesses with up to 200 employees and annual revenue of between $2 million and $100+ million per year. The results provide insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by leaders and their confidence in the Australian and New Zealand business environment as well as insights into key issues such as political leadership, access to funding and market conditions.

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